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Clint Hurdle explains benching of Pedro Alvarez
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Clint Hurdle has compared Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez to Travis Snider and Josh Harrison in justifying his move to bench the former again Wednesday.

"He's not outplaying Harrison," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Snider's a hot bat that's in the lineup."

Alvarez is leading the major leagues in errors, including 21 on bad throws, and owns a stat line of .238/.309/.437.

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Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

The Cardinals have acquired pitcher Justin Masterson from the Indians Wednesday, according baseball analyst Peter Gammons.

Masterson has struggled to the tune of a 5.51 ERA in 98 innings for the Indians this season, and is currently sidelined by a knee injury. He was expected to return from the disabled list Friday for the Indians, and will likely slot into the Cardinals rotation at some point in the coming days.

Masterson had a 3.45 ERA last season, but has struggled badly with his control in 2014. He already has walked 56 batters in 98 innings, after walking 76 a year ago in 193 innings. 

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Dodgers, Yankees eye Joaquin Benoit as deadline approaches
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

The Dodgers and Yankees are the most aggressive suitors for Padres right-hander Joaquin Benoit, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

It is unknown if the Padres are shopping Benoit after having already unloaded closer Huston Street, but the status of the former as arguably the top reliever in the market has piqued interest. Benoit has saves in his last two appearances and owns a 4-2 record and 1.88 ERA. He he has allowed just 23 hits in 43 innings pitched with 13 walks and 51 strikeouts.

Benoit is set to earn $8.5 million next year. That might scare away some teams, but not the Yankees or Dodgers.

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Yan Gomes tearing it up since break
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Indians catcher Yan Gomes has raised his average to .280, his highest point since April 16.

That achievement is courtesy of a hot streak that began just before the All-Star break. He is 19 for 45 since July 12 with 10 runs, five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI. His average has risen 22 points during that stretch.

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Coco Crisp won't play Friday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Bob Melvin has already ruled out Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp for the opener of a weekend series Friday against Kansas City. Melvin added that the immediate future of his leadoff hitter should be known by then.

The oft-injured Crisp has been out since July 26 with a neck problem.

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Report: John Lackey a strong trade possibility
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

The possibility that the Red Sox trade John Lackey as well as fellow starter Jon Lester are very good, according to Fox Sports.

Though Lester is the top prize for prospective suitors, Lackey has piqued some interest from contenders seeking a rotation piece. He has been on top of his game lately with five runs allowed on 14 hits in his last 20 innings. He has also walked nine during that stretch, but that marks his first problem with control this season.

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Matt Harvey's rehab schedule starting to become clearer
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

Though the Mets have remained staunch in their belief that Matt Harvey will not pitch this season, he is starting to eye a return to game action, according to the New York Post.

The Post reports Wednesday Harvey could begin throwing off a mound next week, and is eyeing a return to game action in September instructional league. Harvey still wants to pitch for the Mets this season, even if it is just one inning, according to the report.

Harvey is recovering from Tommy John Surgery, which he underwent last October. It still remains unlikely he sees the majors this season. 

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Pedro Alvarez out of lineup vs. RHP Wednesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is out of the lineup for the second game in a row Wednesday against the Giants, despite the team facing a right-handed pitcher yet again. He has started just one of the team's last six games, though it is not yet clear if the knee injury that bothered him last week is still an issue.

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No serious talks for Cole Hamels
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

The Phillies appear willing to move some of their veteran pitchers before Thursday's deadline, but MLB.com reports Cole Hamels is not likely to be among them.

Though reports have indicated there is some willingness to discuss Hamels, no substantive talks have occurred with any team, according to the report. The Phillies have not even reached the point in any talks where prospect names have been discussed.

Hamels lowered his ERA to 2.55 whole improving his record to 6-5 with eight scoreless innings Tuesday. Hamels is under contract through next season, and could be a candidate to be traded in the offseason. 

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Rockies, Mets blockbuster unlikely to come together
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

The Rockies and Mets have gotten together a few times to discuss major deal involving Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports Wednesday any move is unlikely to come before Thursday's deadline.

"Unless we do speed dating, I think that's safe to say [that any deal will wait until winter]," one person involved in the talks told Heyman.

Gonzalez and Tulowitzki are both under long-term deals with the Rockies, but the team's struggles have pushed them into considering a move. The Mets would likely have to part with much of their young pitching talent to get the deal done, but that will likely have to wait until the offseason. The report also indicates a deal for Gonzalez is more likely than Tulowitzki, once talks resume after Thursday. 

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